This post had the intentions of being a good-natured poke at the Canadian Hockey Fan; for if there’s one thing we love to do, it is to tease ourselves. The hockey fan deserves it, too. We are a superstitious, loud, moody bunch who truly believe that we can affect the outcome of a game.

In this year’s hockey championships, The Stanley Cup Playoffs, Vancouver’s team, the Canucks, made it to the final round. Soon, came Game 7 in a best of 7 series. This was a ‘do or die’ situation. To put things into perspective, I quote a friend who played baseball in university: “this is the most important sporting event of my life.” I have to say, I fully agreed with him. Us Canadians are crazy about hockey.

Team jerseys, old and new, everywhere you look

How to Spot a Hockey Fan:

• will be wearing a team jersey, shirt, or anything close to team colours.

• will slip players’ names into every conversation: “you deliver that memo like a Sedin”.

• will be one of ten people squished into a four person table to watch the game.

• will be drinking beer; often eating BBQ food, too.

• will be honking car horns at every goal, win, or power play. Horns have nothing to do with traffic conditions.

• will be waving or wearing flags on the street.

• will be leaving work early, sending employees home, or closing their business to catch the game.

A Few Good Superstitions

• Men must not shave their beard during the playoff season.

• Shirts may have good or bad luck. Bad luck shirts must be removed immediately.

• Washing clothes may remove their ‘good luck’ abilities.

• All comments and predictions must be followed by a ‘knock on wood’ to prevent jinxing the team.

• Our goalie, Luongo, must walk the seawall before a game.

Downtown during Game 2- a happy crowd

Overall, we know in our hearts that the team can hear us through the TV, and we all feel involved in every win and every loss.

Sadly, though, after last week’s loss, I have had to adjust this post.

Don’t judge us by the riots

It had been 17 years since the Vancouver Canucks had last made it to the Stanley Cup Final. Back in 1994, the Canucks made it to Game 7, they lost, and a small accident in a large crowd escalated into a riot. Fast forward to 2011, and it seems certain people thought they now had a great excuse. Talk of the previous riot was all over town, comparisons to the playoffs were impossible not to make.

Despite being a huge fan of hockey and the energy of downtown Vancouver during any event, I knew it was not the place to watch Game 7. I am so glad I stuck to my gut and watched safely with loved ones. For, as the game came to an end, and the downtown streets were filled with 100 000 people, a group is said to have instigated the riot. Fires were set, cars were flipped, windows were smashes, merchandise was stolen, and fights broke out. While all suspicions have been aimed at a small group that attempted a similar, unsuccessful, event during the 2010 Olympics, it is with shame that I admit others joined in. The majority of the people downtown were young men in their late teens and early twenties. These men were, I am quite sure, very drunk and caught up in the ‘mob mentality’. They thought they were anonymous.

This riot and these young, drunk men have tarnished Vancouver on the international stage. Meanwhile, the average Vancouverite was watching the news in horror, disgust, and tears. We felt intense shame. That night we mourned our beautiful city. Thankfully, Vancouver citizens did not sit still. Early the next morning, volunteers filled the streets to pick up garbage, sweep up glass, and personally thank the front-line emergency crews.

The boarded up windows of The Bay

Thus, I ask the city not be judged on a few drunk rioters or the graphic images of the news that night. Instead, try to remember the embarrassment the rest of us felt, the way so many cleaned up the mess. Imagine the people who came to the downtown core throughout this past week and were overcome by emotion. Remember the messages of love and support we left for the world to see. Please, accept our apologies for the ugliness brought into the world, for if there is one thing a Canadian loves to say, it’s “SORRY!”.

“You will rise again Vancouver”

“We’re better than this”

Read more:
Interview with a Canadian in Shanghai
Speaking Spanglish with a Canuck in Cancun
What makes Argentineans special?

About the author

Kelly is a BC girl through and through, but never lasts at home very long before her feet start itching. She has travelled repeatedly to Australia, Europe, and Mexico (and the US, but that doesn't really count). The goal is every continent, but in every place she goes, there is only more to see. She currently fills the days working too many hours with children, writing, and learning Spanish. Though, friends will always find her in a kitchen filled with new recipes from the countries she has visited.